Paintings that blend and blur the world together.
When Brooklyn-based painter Ali Banisadr visited the Benaki Museum in Greece last year, he came across a blue-and-white Ming Dynasty–era vase in its collection. Much to the Iranian-born artist’s surprise, a closer inspection revealed that his favorite poem by Persian poet Attar of Nishapur was inscribed on its surface. Besides being the artist’s Instagram handle, Simorgh is the protagonist in Attar’s circa 1177 poem, The Conference of the Birds, about thirty birds in search of the legendary namesake bird “with all the answers.” When the flock reaches where they believe Simorgh resides, the poem climaxes with an epiphany: they, in fact, together make up the bird of the birds. “I’ve always loved the metaphor of thirty birds going on a journey together to learn that they are the very answer they were in search of,” says Banisadr.
Image: Ali Banisadr, Only Breath, 2020
Oil on linen
Courtesy of the artist and Kasmin Gallery, New York.